SHANGHAI, Feb 3 (SMM) - Some steel mills have requested cuts in coke prices on January 28, growing market bearishness.
On demand, inventories at steel mills have declined by 5-10% after Chinese New Year holidays. Meanwhile, some steel mills are to resume production and need to restock coke.
On the supply side, the operating rates at coking plants fell 0.1 percentage point from pre-CNY levels and stood at 77.1% this week, according to SMM survey. The loss-making coking plants lacked the motivation in production during CNY holidays.
Coal supply has been growing amid production resumption at coal mines post-CNY, but downstream buyers refrained from purchasing. This caused stocks at several coal mines to accumulate. Meanwhile, coal imported from Australia will alleviate domestic coking coal supply tightness. As such, coking coal market is on the decline.
The price of coke, which stabilised this week amid stockpiling by steel mills and the market awaiting price cuts, is expected to fall next week after steel mills stock up on cargoes and in light of the further decline in coking coal prices.
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